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October 19, 2005


Elyse Branam
October 13, 2005
News Writing

Should Cheerleading be called a “Sport?”
By Elyse Branam

Forget the American stereotype of the blonde-haired cheerleader in a tight sweater longing for the muscled quarterback. The world of cheerleading no longer means a group of girls dressed in their uniforms who stand on a sideline solely to support other teams.
Cheerleading has evolved over the past twenty years from being an activity where members were selected based on their popularity to an activity that now selects a squad through a mandatory tryout.
Jessica Davies, a freshman at Pittsburgh, said, “A tryout consists of a cheer or chant, dance, stunting, and tumbling. The tryout is judged on stiff-arm motions, correct dance movements, perfect tumbling passes, attitude, and facial expressions.”
Cheerleading is a sport that combines gymnastics, acrobatics and dance, strength, communication, trust, sportsmanship, pride, teamwork, athleticism, and competition.
The University of Kentucky cheerleading coach, Saleem Habash, states, “The gymnastics ability, power, and strength make cheerleaders some of the most well-grounded athletes on campus.”
The gymnastics and dance skills are very challenging. Other athletes in school are not able to perform the skills that cheerleaders are able to perform.
Ashley Rosman, a Pittsburgh cheerleader, said “Any able bodied person can throw, kick, or even hit a ball, though not as well as the varsity player. However, few top athletes can perform the gymnastic stunts that cheerleaders can.”
Cheerleading involves skills, which require excellent strength while possessing the grace of dance and the agility of gymnastics.
Because cheerleaders compete for national championships, colleges recruit these athletes for scholarships. Cheerleaders deserve respect for the spirit they present at school, throughout the community, and at the many different sporting events.
The primary purpose of being a cheerleader is not competition, but raising school unification and spirit through leading a crowd or team at athletic functions.
The AACCA states, “It is often assumed that competition is necessary to make an activity a sport. These competitors give their whole heart to the game these athletes play. Many of these sports stars sweat, use much of their strength, and even cry after a sporting event, which is due to the over-exertion of time and energy. These athletes give all they can on and off the field of play. The players learn that there is no “I” in team and must encourage each other to do well.”
What is it that qualifies an activity to be a sport? Is it the ball? No, because wrestling is a sport and it does not contain a ball. Could it be the audience? No, the audience at cheerleading outnumber competitions those at many athletic events.
Cheerleading, more than any other sport in the United States, teaches important skills such as cooperation. Cheerleaders, like other athletes practice, compete, have rules, go through training, sweat, fall, get hurt, but most importantly, dedicate their lives to the sport of cheerleading.

Posted by ElyseBranam at October 19, 2005 01:22 PM


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